Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Articles in May 2021

May 3rd, 2021
Mother’s Day spending for jewelry items is expected to reach $6.1 billion in 2021, making it the fastest-growing and highest-volume gift-giving category, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The jewelry spending number is up from $5.3 billion in 2020, an increase of just over 15%.



Overall Mother’s Day spending in 2021 will set a record at $28.1 billion, up from $26.7 billion in 2020. Nearly 60% of that annual increase is reflected in the strength of the jewelry category, where purchases are slated to jump by $800 million.

Exactly 35% of respondents said they will be buying jewelry for their moms this year, with the average spending per person pegged at $47.76, up more than 18% from 2020. Forty-five percent of men and 27% of women said they will be gifting jewelry this Mother's Day.

“There is a lot of consumer optimism around Mother’s Day this year as more people are getting vaccinated and stimulus checks are being distributed,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “For many, this is a chance to make up for last year’s Mother’s Day when we were under lockdown.

While the portion of people reporting that they will be celebrating Mother’s Day with a gift in 2021 is consistent with previous years at 83%, this year’s gift-givers will be spending more.

The average Mother’s Day outlay is expected to be a record $220.48, up from $204.47 in 2020.

Surprisingly, consumers ages 25-34 are likely to spend the most at $367.08. The amount is $99 more than 2020. The NRF reported that in addition to buying gifts for their own moms, these younger shoppers are more likely to be buying for spouses and other recipients, such as grandmothers or friends.

The second-highest-spending age range is 35-44 ($280.19), followed by those 18-24 ($266.50) and 45-54 ($207.73).

Men are expected to outspend women significantly ($284.90 compared with $159.27).

Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said they are planning a special Mother's Day outing, such as a brunch or other activity. While this is up slightly from last year, it is still below pre-pandemic levels.

The 2021 survey, which asked 7,818 consumers about their Mother’s Day plans, was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics from April 1 to 9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Credit: Image by Bigstockphoto.com.
May 4th, 2021
Seventy-seven perfectly matched cabochon-cut emerald "leaves" sprout from a diamond-studded golden branch in this stunning necklace from the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection. The piece boasts 350 carats of Colombian emeralds and provides one of the world's most unique displays of May's official birthstone.



Designed in the mid-1960s by Julius Cohen, the piece was donated to the Smithsonian by Margaret M. Sokol in 2007 and is now a permanent resident of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.



Emerald has been cherished for thousands of years.

More than 3,300 years ago, the biblical Aaron dazzled his followers with a gleaming breastplate fashioned with gemstones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The very first of the inscribed gems was an emerald.

Ancient Egyptians were mining emeralds as far back as 330 BC and Cleopatra was known to favor jewelry and adornments fashioned from the mesmerizing green gem. She also reportedly gifted emeralds to visiting dignitaries as a demonstration of her generosity, wealth and power.

The Gemological Institute of America reported that when Spanish Conquistadors discovered rich sources of large, fine-quality emeralds in Colombia during the 16th and 17th centuries, the native Incas had already been using emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies for 500 years.

Emerald is the most valuable variety of the beryl family and is known to display a wide variety of visible inclusions, which are referred to as “jardin” (French for “garden”). These imperfections do not detract from the stone’s beauty but, instead, give each stone a unique fingerprint and distinct character.

The name “emerald” comes indirectly from “smaragdos," the ancient Greek word for green gem. The word later evolved into the Latin "esmaraldus" and then the Middle English "emeraude."

Besides being the birthstone for the month of May, it’s also the preferred gemstone to honor 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

Emerald owes its delightful color to trace impurities of chromium or vanadium in its chemical composition.

While emerald rates a relatively hard 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, the gem is more brittle than other members of the beryl family due to its natural inclusions and must be treated with extra care.

Credits: Photos by Ken Larsen / Smithsonian.
May 5th, 2021
A team of landfill workers in New Hanover County, NC, went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue an engagement ring and wedding band that had been accidentally put out with the trash. The green-vested team worked for hours sorting through layer upon layer of garbage bags until the right one was found — just minutes before closing time.



The drama played out last week when Pam Smith was cleaning the house and realized her precious bridal jewelry was missing.

“I just was frantic that I couldn’t find my rings,” Pam told NBC affiliate WECT in Wilmington. “But, I knew in my heart I had thrown them, accidentally in the trash.”

The waste collection truck was still in the Smith's neighborhood when Pam realized her mistake. A few minutes later, Pam and her husband, Chuck, caught up with the truck, which was about 25 houses away.



“When they flagged me down, I didn’t know what was going on,” said crew member Elliott Holliday (not "Holiday" as seen in the graphic). “I just knew I saw a couple in distress.”

The Smiths told Holliday that their precious keepsake was likely in the back of his truck. The SRWS (Select Recycling Waste Services) professional could not safely dump the load right there on the street, so instead, he called ahead and alerted the New Hanover County landfill that they had a special situation.

Holliday and his partner, Kendrick Grady, were directed to a flat, open piece of land at the landfill where they unloaded the contents of their big rig.



Landfill specialist Kedar Brunson was inspired when he saw Pam Smith praying in front of his bulldozer.

"So I called my wife," said Brunson, "and we were praying with her saying ‘Lord, show this woman favor.’”

A half-dozen workers snapped into action, picking through a seemingly endless mountain of trash bags.



“It’s like we went through every bag. We went through, literally, the last bag before we found it,” said Grady. “It was truly a miracle.”



Pam Smith was so moved by the incredible efforts of the landfill workers that she penned a letter to thank them.



She wrote, in part, “The events of that day made for an eventful time in our lives and we will forever remember the compassionate and understanding way we were treated. You have very professional staff and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Pam Smith told WECT, “I just want people to remember there are a lot of good people on this Earth who are willing to help. And God is good.”

The New Hanover County Twitter account acknowledged the landfill workers in a special tweet on Friday.

It read, "If you need a #FeelGoodFriday - here it is. Thank you to our incredible #NHCgov Environmental Management team for going above and beyond in service to our community. We are so grateful for you and your limitless commitment to helping others!

The tweet was linked to the page on the WECT website, where the story was prominently displayed.

Credits: Screen captures via wect.com.
May 6th, 2021
Tallulah Willis, the youngest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, turned to Instagram on Tuesday to announce her engagement to film director Dillon Buss and to show off a stunning Asscher-cut diamond on a bold, gold band. On Wednesday afternoon, she returned to her Instagram page to share a close-up of her ring and the backstory of how it came to be.



The 27-year-old mental health advocate and fashion designer explained that when it came to picking out the perfect diamond she needed to be in control. Dillon was content to be a bystander.

"[W]hen we began talking about this seriously I told him due to my lowkey (highkey lol) obsessive, perfectionist, micro lens way of viewing special things in my life I knew I had to be in the drivers seat with this one," she wrote. "And of course Dillon understood - because that’s Dillon."

She explained how she spent a few months "furiously trying to decode the world of diamonds" with a jeweler friend who specializes in gemstones. Then she was introduced to Brooklyn-based designer Karina Noel, who assisted in the diamond search.



"[T]ogether we scoured the world. No stone left unexamined," she continued. "After much deliberation we decided on this 1910s elongated Asscher cut forged in a riverbed."

Developed in 1902 by Joseph Asscher, an Asscher cut diamond has stepped facets and cropped corners, giving it an octagonal appearance. Asscher-cut diamonds are often featured in vintage-style engagement rings and typically have 58 facets.

Jewelry-industry experts believe Willis' diamond weighs in the range of 7 to 8 carats and could be worth $300,000 or more, depending on the color, cut and clarity.

Willis explained that once the stone was secured, the next task was designing the ring. She wanted the ring to feel as if it was on a delicate finger of a "resident of Rivendell," which is a reference to a magical valley in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth.

Willis thanked Noel for putting up with her "late night FaceTimes and manic sketches."

"This is the final result," she wrote. "Group effort, so much love, and a lot of patience for a loony toons girl, I am over the moon."



On Monday, Willis and Buss had shared their proposal photos on their respective Instagram pages.

"I can finally call you my fiancée. Love you forever Buuski Lu, you are my best friend," Buss wrote.

Willis wrote that she would "with absolute most certainty" accept his hand in marriage. Later on Monday, she posted a video of her ring and added this caption: "HANDS STILL SHAKIN’ — MOMS SPAGHETTI — I’m FIANCÉNCHED."

Willis and Buss made their Instagram debut as a couple in February of 2020. The wedding date has yet to be announced.

Credits: Images via Instagram / buuski; Instagram / dillonbuss.
May 7th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, our spotlights shines on Savage Garden, an Australian pop duo that loved to open its live shows with an over-the-top, dancing-in-the-aisles rendition of "Tears of Pearls."



Pearls are referenced throughout the song to represent emotions that are so private and so precious that they are locked away for nobody to see. When the emotions can no longer be contained, they bubble to the surface resulting in "tears of pearls."

Vocalist and co-writer Darren Hayes sings, "Your kisses are like pearls / So different and so rare / But anger stole the jewels away / And love has left you bare / Made you cry / These tears of pearls."

First appearing in March of 1997 as the third track on the group's self-titled debut album, "Tears of Pearls" was finally released as the seventh and final single from the album in May of 1999. The album would go on to sell more than 12 million copies worldwide.

Bandmembers Hayes and Daniel Jones shared the writing credits for "Tears of Pearls," but the backstory reveals the collaboration was an unusual one, where Jones took directions from Hayes to achieve a "hipster-retroist" tribute to the New Wave acts of the 1980s. The resulting high-energy, theatrical "Tears of Pearls" became the song that would open Savage Garden's live shows and tours.

Formed in Logan City, Queensland, in 1994, Savage Garden earned international acclaim in the late 1990s with its chart-topping hits "I Want You," "To the Moon and Back," "Truly Madly Deeply," "The Animal Song" and "I Knew I Loved You." The group disbanded in 2001.

Please check out the official video Savage Garden performing "Tears of Pearls." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Tears of Pearls"
Written by Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones. Performed by Savage Garden.

And we stare each other down
Like victims in the grind
Probing all the weakness and
Hurt still left behind and we cry
The tears of pearls
We do it. Oh we do it.
Is love really the tragedy the way you
Might describe?
Or would a thousand lovers
Still leave you cold inside?
Make you cry
These tears of pearls

All these mixed emotions
We keep locked away like stolen pearls
Stolen pearl devotions we
Keep locked away from all the world

Your kisses are like pearls,
So different and so rare
But anger stole the jewels away
And love has left you bare,
Made you cry
These tears of pearls

Well I could be the tired joker
Pour my heart to get you in
Sacrifice my happiness just so I could win
Maybe cry
These tears of pearls
All these mixed emotions
We keep locked away like stolen pearls
Stolen pearl devotions we
Keep locked away from all the world

We twist and turn where angels burn
Like fallen soldiers we will learn
Once forgotten, twice removed
Love will be the death
The death of you

All these mixed emotions
We keep locked away like stolen pearls
Stolen pearl devotions we
Keep locked away from all the world



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com / sgvideos.
May 10th, 2021
Actress Rebel Wilson recently showed off a cool "class ring" commemorating the 10th anniversary of Bridesmaids, the hilarious movie that earned a Golden Globe nomination, two Academy Award nominations and more than $288 million at the box office worldwide.



A gift of director Paul Feig, the ring features a pinkish-purple cabochon center stone and a bunch of fun references to the film. The movie made its debut on May 13, 2011.

In an Instagram Story, Wilson shared with her 9.8 million followers a short video of her manipulating the ring so it could be seen from all angles. Her caption read: "Thank you @paulfeig you classy gentleman! Can't believe it's been 10 years since BRIDESMAIDS."



The top of the ring displays the title of film in raised white metal over a black ground. The pinkish-purple stone is likely a nod to the color of the bridesmaids' dresses worn by the cast.



The left side has Wilson's last name spelled out in raised capital letters. Under the name is a puppy, which might be a reference to Wilson's current gig as the host of Pooch Perfect, an ABC competition show spotlighting the best dog groomers in the US. Or, the puppy might be a reference to an adorable scene in the film, where the bridesmaids are given puppies as gifts after the bridal shower.



The right side of the ring displays the title of the movie's theme song, "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips. Just below the song title is a 10-year-anniversary emblem and the year 2021.

We're assuming that the complete cast of Bridesmaids received similar rings.

Fans of the movie will remember that Wilson played a small, but memorable, role as Kristin Wiig's character's obnoxious roommate, Brynn. Wilson's breakout performance led to roles in Pitch Perfect and What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Ironically, Wilson's character wasn't written into the initial script.

"My character wasn't supposed to exist in the movie," she revealed on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show earlier this year. "I'd auditioned for Melissa McCarthy's character and was the second choice for that role."

She continued, "I guess they liked my audition and added me into the film, essentially, so there was never supposed to be two roommates, only one."

With all the hoopla surrounding the 10-year anniversary of Bridesmaids, cast member Maya Rudolph was asked by Entertainment Tonight if she might return for a sequel.

She said she'd be "down" to participate, adding, "I guess it wouldn't be called Bridesmaids — it would be called Old Ladies or something."

Credits: Screen captures via Instagram / rebelwilson.
May 11th, 2021
A formal independent study has confirmed what jewelers have been telling their customers for generations: When it comes to wear resistance and gem-setting security, platinum outperforms white gold.



This most recent phase of research represented the third in a series of platinum wear testing studies, spanning 2016 to 2020. Conducted by Forshungsinstitut Edelmetalle & Metallchemie (FEM), in association with TechForm Advanced Casting Technology and Platinum Guild International (PGI), the study affirmed anecdotal evidence of how platinum stands the test of time when used in fine jewelry.

Platinum has long been regarded as the preferred precious metal to securely hold a fine diamond, so the study sought to measure the differences in performance between platinum prongs and gold ones.

FEM also measured the metals' absolute and relative volume losses caused by wear and tear.

Researchers compared six alloys altogether. Two were platinum (950 PtRu, 950 PtIr) and four were gold (14K AuNi, 18K AuNi, 14Kt AuPd, and 18K AuPd). The alloys were analyzed under five separate processes, including scratch testing, wear testing, corrosion testing, mechanical properties testing and metallographic examination via optical and scanning electron microscopy.

“After years of testing, these comprehensive findings confirm significantly lower volume loss on platinum jewelry alloys versus common white gold jewelry alloys,” said TechForm president Teresa Frye. “Through the use of standardized testing designed for jewelry purposes we were able to successfully replicate observations of platinum’s superior wear resistance made by bench jewelers across the world.”

Added Huw Daniel, CEO of PGI, “This research has provided conclusive evidence that platinum is, without doubt, the superior precious metal for fine jewelry. Its beauty is matched by performance characteristics that include better wear over time and the securest setting for diamonds — good reasons to provide peace of mind to jewelers and consumers around the world.”

The final phase of research will include comparisons of additional alloys used across international markets.

Credit: Platinum prongs secure this 25.22-carat, pear-shaped diamond — a highlight of Christie's New York auction in July of 2020. Photo courtesy of Christie's.
May 12th, 2021
Gem Diamonds, the mining company that operates the prolific Letšeng mine in Lesotho, is riding a wave of fabulous luck. On Tuesday, May 4, officials announced the discovery of a 254-carat Type II white gem, and then on Monday, May 10, topped that news with the unveiling of a 370-carat Type II stunner.



Despite its diminutive size (about the size of Maryland), the landlocked country of Lesotho at the southern tip of Africa is a powerhouse when it comes to turning out large, Type II, top-quality stones. (Type II diamonds are extremely rare, colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen impurities.)



Of the largest 50 rough diamonds ever discovered, 10 have come from Letšeng, which is recognized as the highest dollar-per-carat kimberlite mine in the world.

Some of Letšeng’s historic finds include the Lesotho Legend (910 carats), Lesotho Promise (603 carats), Lesotho Brown (601 carats), Letšeng Star (550 carats), Lesotho Legacy (493 carats) and the Light of Letšeng (478 carats). In August of 2020, Gem Diamonds revealed a 442-carat Type II stone, which has yet to be named.

The 370-carat find ranks 48th on Wikipedia's list of the largest rough diamonds, just ahead of two other Lesotho stones — one light brown and one white — each weighing 357 carats.

Letšeng has the distinction of being one of the world’s highest diamond mines. Its average elevation is 10,000 feet (nearly two miles) above sea level.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has unearthed more than 60 white, gem-quality diamonds weighing more than 100 carats each. The company reported that 16 100-carat-plus diamonds were recovered in the full year of 2020. In that same year, 34 individual stones sold for more than $1 million each.

The United Kingdom-based Gem Diamonds holds a 70% stake in the Letšeng mine with the government of Lesotho owning the remaining 30%. In October 2019, the partners renewed the mining lease for an additional 10 years.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gem Diamonds.
May 13th, 2021
On a night when the highly touted, 100.94-carat, D-flawless "Spectacle" diamond was supposed to be the star of Christie's Geneva auction, it was a 19th century sapphire-and-diamond crown that earned the loudest applause.



The crown once worn by Queen Maria II of Portugal (1819-1853) sparked a bidding war that yielded a final price of 1.77 million francs ($1.95 million) — more than five times the pre-sale high estimate.

At 8:13 pm Geneva time, the bidding passed 1 million francs and inched up in 50,000-franc increments for the next four minutes. Throughout the tense battle, bids often snuck in seconds before the auctioneer was about to smash his hammer down to end the sale.

The winning bidder was not immediately identified.



"It’s so rare to have a royal crown come up for auction," said Christie’s jewelry specialist Lukas Biehler prior to the auction. "Usually they’ve been remounted by subsequent kings or queens, or they’re locked away in royal treasuries or owned by museums."



Maria II's sapphire crown, which features octagonal step-cut and oval-shaped sapphires accented by old-cut diamonds, was designed in the 1840s. The piece was then passed down to Maria II's daughter, Infanta Antónia of Portugal (1845-1913), who married Léopold, Prince of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen in 1861.

Léopold was the eldest son of Princess Josephine of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen, who happened to be the middle daughter of Stephanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden and the adoptive daughter of Napoléon Bonaparte.

A matched collection of nine sapphire pieces that were once owned by Princess Josephine and passed down through the Hohenzollern family lineage also appeared at Christie's Geneva auction. On the 200th anniversary of the French emperor's death, each of the Napoléon-linked items outperformed the auction house's pre-sale high estimate by and average of two times.



The highly anticipated final lot of the session was "The Spectacle," the largest diamond ever to have been cut in Russia. The emerald-cut diamond arrived in Geneva with a pre-sale estimate of 12 million to 18 million francs ($13.2 million to $19.8 million), but failed to gain any traction after the opening bid was set at 10 million francs. Within two minutes, the bidding stalled at 10.9 million francs. With the buyer's premium, the final price totaled 12.8 million francs ($14.1 million).

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's. Live auction screen capture from christies.com.
May 17th, 2021
Completely redesigned and reinstalled, the 11,000-square-foot Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City are set to reopen on June 12.



The new Halls will feature more than 5,000 specimens sourced from 95 countries. Among the most notable specimens are the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the 632-carat Patricia Emerald and the 9-pound almandine Subway Garnet that had been discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885.



Patricia Emerald

“When you enter the Halls, you truly feel as if you’ve walked into the world’s jewelry box,” said museum benefactor and volunteer Allison Mignone. “These Halls, and others in the museum, take science off the page of textbooks and into the real-life experience of countless families and students.”



Subway Garnet

Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History, noted that the reopening of the beloved spaces signal the renewal of  New York City’s cultural life after more than a year of closings due to COVID-19.

“New Yorkers and visitors have long embraced these Halls as one of the City’s treasures,” she said. “Now, with this complete redesign made possible by Allison and Roberto Mignone, the Halls are more spectacular than ever and an even greater resource for learning about the processes that shape our changing planet and make it so endlessly fascinating.”

Top exhibits include the following:

- A pair of towering, sparkling amethyst geodes that are among the world’s largest on display;
- The DeLong Star Ruby, a 100.3-carat ruby from Myanmar; 
- The Brazilian Princess topaz, a 221-facet, 9.5-pound pale-blue topaz that was once known as the largest cut gem in the world;
- The Tarugo, a 3-foot-tall cranberry-colored elbaite tourmaline that is one of the largest intact mineral crystal clusters ever found;
- The Singing Stone, a massive block of vibrant blue azurite and green malachite from Arizona, first exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago;
- A wall-sized panel of fluorescent rock that glows in shades of orange and green, sourced from Sterling Hill in New Jersey.
- A spectacular piece of yellow fluorite discovered in the Moscona Mine in the Austurias region of northwest Spain, which grew as hot water dissolved layers of limestone, replacing them with the cubic crystals coated with glistening pyrite.

Organized by Curator George E. Harlow of the Museum’s Division of Physical Sciences, the Halls’ redesigned exhibits tell the fascinating story of how the vast diversity of mineral types arose on Earth, how scientists classify minerals and study them, and how humans have used them throughout the millennia for personal adornment, tools and technology. 

“When I started at the Museum, there were probably 2,000 minerals described, and now there are more than 5,500 minerals,” said Harlow. “The enhanced Halls will present up-to-date science, which has progressed significantly. I look forward to seeing visitors delight in remarkable gems and mineral specimens from across the globe and our own backyard, like those in the Minerals of New York display featuring specimens from all five boroughs.”

Admission tickets are available at amnh.org. In order to safely manage capacity while allowing visitors to experience the new Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, the museum will use a virtual queueing system to allow visitors to reserve time in the gallery while maintaining physical distance from other groups of visitors.

Credits: Images by D. Finnin/© American Museum of Natural History.
May 18th, 2021
Debswana Diamond Co. will be spending $6 billion on a massive project that will extend by 20 years the lifespan of Jwaneng, the world's richest diamond mine. When the Botswana mine reaches full capacity in 2034, it will be generating 9 million carats per year.



Since 1982, Jwaneng has been an open-pit mine, but the next phase of its operations will see the company channeling underground. Over the next 13 years, Debswana will be reaching high-grade diamond-bearing ore via 360 kilometers (224 miles) of interconnecting tunnels.

“We are still doing the studies toward transforming to an underground producer, which is a very different environment, with different capabilities and mindset,” Thabo Balopi, Debswana’s head of transformation and innovation, told reporters at a briefing.

Situated in south-central Botswana about 120 kilometers (75 mi) west of the city of Gaborone, the Jwaneng diamond mine is owned by Debswana, an equal partnership between the De Beers company and the government of Botswana. The open-pit mine lies above three kimberlite pipes that converge near the surface, covering 520,000 square meters at ground level.

The success and longevity of the mine is critical to De Beers because Jwaneng accounts for a huge portion of the company's total diamond production. In the first quarter of 2021, for example, Jwaneng yielded 3.2 million carats, or 41% of De Beers' total output. Debswana also accounts for one-fifth of Botswana's gross domestic product, according to seetao.com.

The Jwaneng mine has a reputation for producing high-quality diamonds. One of the most famous of these diamonds was sold at a Sotheby's auction in April 2019.



At the time, a Japanese private collector plunked down $13.7 million for a D-flawless, 88.22-carat oval diamond that had been cut from a 242-carat rough stone sourced at the Jwaneng mine. The collector gifted the gem to his eldest daughter and named it “Manami Star” in her honor.

Credits: Mining image courtesy of Debswana. Diamond image courtesy of Sotheby’s.
May 19th, 2021
As a homage to humanity, designer/artist Reena Ahluwalia has painted her interpretation of the "Mouawad — Miss Universe Power of Unity" crown — an opulent headpiece that features 1,728 white diamonds and three golden canary diamonds originating from Botswana.



The diamond painting was commissioned by Mouawad co-guardian Fred Mouawad. The piece will be auctioned, with the proceeds aimed at making a positive societal contribution and impact.

Ahluwalia often takes her inspiration from the reflective facets of diamonds. She has painted a series of historic Mouawad gems, including the “Mouawad Dragon,” a 54.21-carat round brilliant cut, fancy vivid yellow diamond, and the “Mouawad Dynasty,” a 51.03-carat round brilliant cut, D-flawless diamond.



“I paint diamonds to celebrate nature, our shining human spirit and humanity,” said Ahluwalia. “I believe we all are like diamonds — we come in all colors, we are brilliant and full of potential.”

Ahluwalia’s painting depicts an empowered woman in the form of a diamond wearing the Mouawad Miss Universe Power of Unity crown. The use of red and black in the piece was intended to convey passion and strength.



Ahluwalia envisioned a diamond female figure filled with light and limitless potential. The form confidently carries the resolve of being an agent of unity and greater societal good. The message is, literally, the crowning glory of the painting.

The Power of Unity Crown is the result of a partnership between diamantaire Mouawad and The Miss Universe Organization. The crown is estimated to be worth $5 million, making it the world’s most expensive pageant crown.

The crown’s centerpiece is a modified mixed-cut golden canary diamond weighing 62.83 carats. According to Mouawad, the large center diamond signifies a women’s inner strength and reminds us that in unity, lies power.

“The interconnected vine motifs set with diamonds are symbolic of how, through forging bonds among communities around the world, we can empower one another to become a force for good,” said Mouawad. “Likewise, the crown’s name, ‘Power of Unity,’ is a message to the world to unite in the cause of humanity.”

On May 16, Mexico's Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe 2021.

Credits: Images courtesy of Reena Ahluwalia.
May 20th, 2021
Actress Kat Dennings and her rocker boyfriend Andrew W.K. turned to Instagram last Thursday to tell the world — in very few words — that they were officially engaged.



In a post that included closeups of the 2 Broke Girls star wearing her new three-stone engagement ring, the 34-year-old simply wrote, "Don’t mind if I do." On his Instagram, Andrew W.K., 42, included the same three photos and captioned them with no words, just a diamond ring emoji. Dennings commented on her fiancé's post with a string of 22 heart emojis.



Dennings has 4.5 million Instagram followers and Andrew W.K. (whose initials stand for Wilkes-Krier) has 151,000. Their posts also caught the attention of high-profile media outlets, such as pagesix.com, whowhatwear.com, refinery29.com, purewow.com and insider.com.



Dennings' understated post earned 781,000 likes, many of which included heartfelt congratulations and positive comments about the bling, which was called “one of the most unique celebrity rings” of the year thus far by a diamond expert interviewed by pagesix.com.

The actress's new ring features a large emerald- or elongated cushion-cut diamond flanked by two trapezoid-cut diamonds in a platinum or white gold setting. Jewelry-industry experts believe the center stone weighs between 2.5 and 4 carats and may be worth $75,000 to $150,000, depending on the size and quality of the stones.

The three-stone setting — with a classic, tapered look — bucks the trend of solitaire styles chosen by most of the celebrities who announced engagements in 2021.

Dennings currently co-stars with Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn in Wandavision, a miniseries that can be seen on the Disney+ streaming service.

Credits: Images via Instagram / katdenningsss.
May 21st, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we often feature throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In late March 1969, Dennis Yost and Classics IV reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 with "Traces," a melancholy song about a man looking back on his life and longing for the love that got away.



In the song, the man finds a trove of items from the past that brings back vivid memories of a relationship that "didn't work out right." Among his "traces of love" is a ring.

He sings, "Ribbons from her hair / Souvenirs of days together / The ring she used to wear / Pages brown, an old love letter / Traces of love long ago / That didn't work out right / Traces of love with me tonight."

In the final verses, the man says a prayer, hoping that the love of his life will someday come back and dry the traces of tears from his eyes.

Even though "Traces" was released more than 52 years ago, it still gets significant airplay on oldies stations and is considered a classic. In fact, BMI placed "Traces" 32nd on its list of the top 100 songs of the 20th century.

Frontman Yost told the The Tennessean newspaper in 2002 that Classics IV was “the first soft-rock band.” The smooth, easy-listening style of Classics IV stood in stark contrast to the Woodstock-generation protest songs that were popular during the same period.

Classics IV was formed in Jacksonville, FL, in 1965, and is best known for the hits "Spooky" (1967), "Stormy" (1968) and "Traces" (1969).

During the 1980s, Yost became a popular act on the rock nostalgia circuit. In 2008, he passed away at the age of 65.

Please check out the audio clip of Yost and Classics IV performing "Traces." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Traces"
Written by Buddy Buie, J. R. Cobb and Emory Gordy Jr. Performed by Classics IV, featuring Dennis Yost.

Faded photograph
Covered now with lines and creases
Tickets torn in half
Memories in bits and pieces

Traces of love long ago
That didn't work out right
Traces of love

Ribbons from her hair
Souvenirs of days together
The ring she used to wear
Pages brown, an old love letter

Traces of love long ago
That didn't work out right
Traces of love with me tonight

I close my eyes and say a prayer
That in her heart she'll find
A trace of love still there
Somewhere, oh, oh

Traces of hope in the night
That she'll come back and dry
These traces of tears from my eyes



Credit: Image by Bill Lowery Talent (management), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
May 24th, 2021
“The Sakura Diamond,” a 15.81-carat gem that takes its name from the Japanese word for cherry blossom, set two records at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong on Sunday. The flawless, rectangular mixed-cut stone became the largest fancy vivid purple-pink diamond ever to appear at auction, and then went on to achieve a record price of $29.3 million, or $1.85 million per carat.



Christie's had estimated that "The Sakura Diamond" would fetch between $25 million and $38 million.

The previous record for a diamond of that color had been held by “The Spirit of the Rose,” a 14.83-carat stone that was sold for $26.6 million at Sotheby's Geneva in November of 2020.

Auctioneer Elaine Kwok opened the bidding for Christie's top lot at HK$170 million ($22.5 million). Two telephone bidders escalated the price in increments of HK$5 million. After five bids, Kwok threw down the hammer at HK$195 million ($25.1). With fees, the final price was $29.3 million.



A second pink diamond also turned heads at Christie's Hong Kong. Named "The Sweet Heart," the 4.19-carat, fancy vivid pink, heart-shaped diamond earned $6.5 million, or $1.56 million per carat.

Prices have been very strong for fine pink diamonds since Australia's depleted Argyle mine was shuttered in 2020. For 37 years, that mine had been the world’s only consistent source of rare pink diamonds, accounting for more than 90% of the supply.

According to Christie’s, the extreme rarity of the pink diamonds appearing at the Hong Kong auction had been amplified by the fact that fewer than 10% of pink diamonds weigh more than 1/5 of a carat. What’s more, only 4% of pink diamonds possess a color deep enough to qualify as “Fancy Vivid,” according to the Gemological Institute of America. Pink diamonds fall under the rare Type IIa category of diamonds, which make up less than 2% of all gem diamonds.

The 59.6-carat, flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond called "The Pink Star" still holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a pink diamond. That stone fetched $71.2 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2017. It was purchased by Hong Kong luxury jeweler Chow Tai Fook and renamed "CTF Pink Star." Not only did it set a record in the pink category, but also shattered the world record for the highest price ever paid for any gem at auction.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
May 25th, 2021
For St. Louis Cardinals superfan Erica Pulley and her boyfriend, Jeremy Gregge, Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium was a dream come true.



Not only was their surprise marriage proposal captured on the giant-sized video board in centerfield, but star catcher Yadier Molina was so taken by the romantic moment that he paused his at-bat during the bottom of the seventh inning. He stepped out of the batter's box, smiled at the couple's image in centerfield, and four pitches later blasted the game-winning homer.



The beloved 38-year-old catcher and two-time World Series champion has been a Cardinal since 2004. He's also Pulley's favorite player.

Gregge told St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK that he had been thinking about a ballpark proposal since the couple started dating.

On Saturday, he conspired with a Busch Stadium cameraman to set his surprise proposal in motion.



With a stadium full of fans and a TV audience watching in realtime, Gregge went down on one knee and proposed to Pulley, who immediately said, "Yes."

Four pitches later, the catcher who has played more than 2,000 games with the Cardinals launched a go-ahead home run to left field off Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay. It turned out to be the deciding run in the 2-1 Cardinals victory.

During a post-game press briefing, Molina commented about the young couple who had traveled 120 miles from Marion, IL, to create this special moment.

"Most of the time I don't look at it [the video board]," Molina said. "And this time I looked at it and was hoping she would say yes. Poor guy if she said no. I was happy for them. Obviously that moment for them was unbelievable. Especially after the home run. I wish them the best for the wedding."

To add a punctuation mark to an otherwise-perfect day, the couple was gifted a game-used base by some friendly — and generous — Cardinals fans who had been sitting in the same section as the couple.

"We took their information down," said Gregge. "They're going to get an invitation to the wedding."

Outside the stadium after the game, complete strangers approached the couple to offer their well wishes and to thank them for inspiring Molina to hit his home run.

"People were coming up and saying congratulations after the game, like so many people," Pulley said. "And they would say, 'Yadi smiled for you guys! Thanks for the win!' And we were like, 'You're welcome!'"

Pulley and Gregge now have a one-in-a-million story to tell their grandchildren, who will no doubt be Cardinal fans.

"We watched the video of Yadi basically giving us his blessing for our marriage and we're just so thankful and eternally grateful for that moment," Pulley told KSDK. "It's something we'll cherish forever."

Credits: Couple screen captures via ksdk.com; Molina screen captures via TikTok / @cardinals.
May 26th, 2021
Rio Tinto just unveiled the “heroes” of its 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, the final collection of rare pink, red and blue gems from the now-shuttered Argyle mine in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia.



During its 37 years of production, the mine famously produced between 90% and 95% of the world’s pink and red diamonds. Mining operations officially ceased on November 3, 2020.

The 38th and final Tender will be attended later this year by an exclusive group of collectors, diamond connoisseurs and luxury jewelry houses. They will be bidding on 70 pink and red diamonds weighing a total of 81.63 carats.

Titled “The Journey Beyond,” the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender collection includes five "hero" diamonds selected for their unique beauty and individually named to ensure a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds.

The headliner of the group is Lot Number 1, the Argyle Eclipse™, a 3.47-carat radiant-shaped diamond that has the distinction of being the largest Fancy Intense Pink diamond ever offered at the tender.

Other notable lots include the following:

Lot 2: Argyle Stella™ — 1.79-carat, square radiant-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;
Lot 3: Argyle Lumiere™ — 2.03-carat, square radiant-shaped Fancy Deep Pink diamond;
Lot 4: Argyle Solaris™ — 2.05-carat, radiant-shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond;
Lot 5: Argyle Bohème™ — 1.01-carat, radiant-shaped Fancy Red diamond.

“The Argyle pink diamond story has continued to enthrall throughout the years following the remarkable discovery of the Argyle mine in 1979,” noted Patrick Coppens, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Rio Tinto’s diamonds business. “The final Tender collection of these beyond-rare diamonds will be keenly sought after as heritage gemstones of the future, coveted by collectors and connoisseurs from around the world.”



Also offered alongside the 2021 annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender are 41 lots of carefully curated Argyle blue diamonds, weighing 24.88 carats in total. Titled "Once in a Blue Moon," these are the very last blue and violet diamonds to emerge from the Argyle mine.

“This final epoch-making offering of pink, red and blue diamonds encapsulates the near-impossible rarity and compelling beauty of the natural treasures gifted to the world by the east Kimberley region of Western Australia,” said jewelry historian Vivienne Becker. “Over the near-four-decade lifespan of the Argyle mine, Rio Tinto has built a unique diamond brand of integrity and authenticity, an Australian icon and source of national pride, now recognized and asked for, by name, across the globe.”

The 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in Perth, Antwerp, Singapore and Sydney, with bidding closing on September 1, 2021.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Officer Sinead Kaufman said the 2021 Tender represents a “historic collection of extraordinary diamonds and a testament to the amazing Argyle ore body and the men and women who have worked so hard to bring these diamonds to market.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.
May 27th, 2021
Since the 8th grade, Christian Liden of Poulsbo, WA, has dreamed of creating a special ring for his future wife with gemstones and gold he mined himself. With his recent discovery of a 2.2-carat yellow diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR, Liden is about to turn that dream into a reality.



The young man began his labor of love by panning for gold in his home state. After five years, he finally accumulated enough precious metal to make the band. Next, he and a close friend built their own mining equipment and set off on an adventure to find the precious stones that would adorn the ring. They tested their equipment at a Montana sapphire mine and then headed south to Arkansas, the home of the only diamond-bearing site in the world where visitors get to keep what they find.



“I was just hoping to find a couple smaller stones and had planned to buy a center stone later,” said the 26-year-old, “but that won’t be needed now.”

The friends arrived at the park late on Friday, May 7. They had enough time to quickly survey the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area, which is actually the surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe, and then returned to mine all day on Saturday. Despite coming up short on Day 2, they returned on Day 3 and that's when the magic happened.

Linden was wet sifting when he finally spotted what he had traveled more than 2,000 miles to find.

“I saw it shining as soon as I turned the screen over and immediately knew it was a diamond,” he said. “I was shaking so bad, I asked my buddy to grab it out of the gravel for me!”

Liden placed the gem in a plastic bag and carried it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where staff confirmed he had found a large, yellow diamond.

The Washingtonian's discovery is the largest diamond found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, AR, discovered a 4.49-carat yellow sparkler.

The park's Assistant Superintendent, Dru Edmonds, said, “Mr. Liden’s diamond is light yellow, with a triangular shape and a sparkling, metallic luster. Like most diamonds from the park, it contains a few inclusions, making it one-of-a-kind.”

Linden named his diamond “The Washington Sunshine” because it's got a nice, light yellow color, just like sunlight in Washington, according to the young man.

Liden told park officials that once he proposes, he wants to design an engagement ring with input of his bride-to-be using gems collected on his long-distance trek. The next stop on Linden's gemstone tour will be an opal mine in Nevada.

So far in 2021, 121 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park. The collective weight of all of those diamonds is 20 carats.

Admission to the park’s diamond search area is currently limited to 1,500 tickets per day. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.

Credits: Images courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.
May 28th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you chart-topping songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we have Kenny Chesney singing the #1 country music single of 2002, “The Good Stuff.”


In the song, a young man learns some critical life lessons from a middle-aged barkeep who recently lost his wife to cancer. The younger man heads to the bar after having a major disagreement with his new wife, and orders “the good stuff.” But instead of serving whiskey or beer, the bartender pours two glasses of milk and shares his views about the things in life that are really “the good stuff.”

Among these items is an engagement ring that a nervous suitor accidentally dropped into a plate of spaghetti and a cherished pearl necklace that marked a special occasion.

The sing-along chorus contains these memorable lines… “’Cause it’s the first long kiss on a second date / Momma’s all worried when you get home late / And droppin’ the ring in the spaghetti plate / ‘Cause you’re hands are shakin’ so much.”

Later in the song, Chesney sings, “Was the sight of her holdin’ my baby girl / The way she adored that string of pearls / I gave her the day that our youngest boy Earl / Married his high school love.”

Written by Nashville hitmakers Jim Collins and Craig Wiseman, “The Good Stuff” was the second single from Chesney’s album No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.

The song zoomed to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and had cross-over success, topping out at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “The Good Stuff” would go on to become the #1 country music single of 2002, according to Billboard.

Wiseman told The Boot that “The Good Stuff” was loosely based on the heartbreaking story of a dear friend, Rusty Martin, who lost his wife to cancer.

“I actually played Rusty the song,” Wiseman said. “I told him the song was inspired by him in some ways so I wanted to make sure he was OK with it.”

Wiseman continued: “I had gotten in touch with the funeral home where he had buried his wife and had a matching foot stone made for her that was engraved with ‘The Good Stuff.’ I went and gave it to him at the No. 1 party. Everybody was crying.”

Born in Knoxville, TN, in 1968, Chesney has recorded 32 Top-10 singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts and has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.

We hope you enjoy the video of Chesney's live performance of “The Good Stuff.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“The Good Stuff”
Written by Craig Michael Wiseman and Jim Collins. Performed by Kenny Chesney.

Well, me and my lady had our first big fight
So I drove around till I saw the neon light
The corner bar. It just seemed right so I pulled up.

Not a soul around but the old bar keep
Down at the end lookin’ half asleep
But he walked up and said, “What’ll it be?”
I said, “The good stuff.”

He didn’t reach around for the whiskey.
He didn’t pour me a beer.
His blue eyes kinda went misty.
He said, "You can’t find that here."

‘Cause it’s the first long kiss on a second date.
Momma’s all worried when you get home late
And droppin’ the ring in the spaghetti plate
‘Cause you’re hands are shakin’ so much

And it’s the way that she looks with the rice in her hair.
Eatin’ burnt suppers the whole first year
And askin’ for seconds to keep her from tearin’ up
Yeah man, that’s the good stuff.

He grabbed a carton of milk and he poured a glass.
And I smiled and said, "I’ll have some of that."
We sat there and talked as an hour passed like old friends.

I saw a black-and-white picture and it caught my stare.
It was a pretty girl with bouffant hair
He said, "That’s my Bonnie, taken ’bout a year after we wed."

He said, "I spent five years in the bar when the cancer took her from me.
But I’ve been sober three years now
‘Cause the one thing’s stronger than the whiskey.
Was the sight of her holdin’ my baby girl
The way she adored that string of pearls
I gave her the day that our youngest boy Earl
Married his high school love.
And it's a new t-shirt sayin’ I’m a grandpa.
Bein’ right there as our time got small
And holdin’ her hand when good the Lord called her up
Yeah, man, that’s the good stuff."

He said, "When you get home she’ll start to cry.
When she says, 'I’m sorry,' say 'So am I.'
Look into those eyes so deep in love and drink it up
‘Cause that’s the good stuff."

That’s the good stuff.



Credit: Image by LawrenceFung, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.